Daughter giving her mother a small present

This article was first published on NEXTSTEP Magazine, Year 2016, Issue 3. NEXTSTEP is a quarterly magazine on Community Care by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).


Leg Strengthening

A senior practicing taiji in a park

Leg exercise is great for seniors to build up strength and reduce their risk of falls.

Strengthen the senior’s thigh muscles with this “sit-to-stand” exercise on a hard floor.

  • Sit on a chair with armrests.
  • Stand up, with their hands on the armrest for support.
  • Sit down.
  • Repeat 10 times, take a two-minute break in between.
  • Aim to do three sets daily.
  • Stop if the senior feels giddy, tired or feels any strain in their thighs.

If your senior finds the above exercise too easy, why not “level up”? Help your senior reduce the use of arm support for the initial push from sitting-to-standing position. For example, put their hands on their lap instead of on the arm rest.

  • Next, stand up with both arms crossed under the armpits.
  • Lower the seat height.
  • Stand from a soft surface, such as on a carpeted floor.

Bonus tip: Do the exercise carefully. If the senior moves too suddenly, he or she may become giddy, lose their balance and fall.

Related: Tips for Older Adults

Balance Booster

Senior lady practising yoga and balancing on one leg

Train your senior’s confidence and awareness of the body, to help them overcome a fear of falling.

  • Get the senior to stand on both feet with one side of their body resting against a wall.
  • Balance on one leg and count to 10. Switch to balancing on the other leg, and count to 10.

Bonus tip: When the senior is more confident with this exercise, progress to balancing on one leg, with just one arm on the wall. For a higher level of difficult, progress to balancing on one leg without support.

Home Improvement

Senior women kneeling on the floor and cleaning it with a cloth

And here are three ways to make your home safer, instantly:

  • Improve the lighting for seniors, who may not see so well at night. Consider simple lamps that can be switched on easily. Use reflective tape to mark out “danger spots” (such as steps or obstacles) around the house more obvious.
  • Clear out obstacles in the house, such as boxes in the hallway. Look at the usual routes your loved one takes in the home, and make sure there are no furniture or items in the way that can trip them up.

These tips were provided by Dr Lai Junxu, director and founder of Omnimed Healthcare, a mobile healthcare service that offers house calls round the clock.


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